Friday, October 25, 2013

Newsline: October 25, 2013


Mission and Ministry Board adopts 2014 budget, revision of Ministerial Leadership Polity, recommendation on equitable representation.

A budget for denominational ministries in 2014 and responses to items of business sent back by Annual Conference--the Ministerial Leadership document and a query on equitable representation--were high on the agenda of the Mission and Ministry Board at its fall meeting Oct. 18-21. The meeting was chaired by Becky Ball Miller. (Find a photo album from the Mission and Ministry Board’s fall meeting at

Also on the agenda were a review of the organization’s strategic plan, changes to financial policies, capital proposals, discussion of the future of the Brethren Service Center, a celebration of the Gather ’Round curriculum, discussion of expanding the Annual Conference delegate travel stipend, resolution of issues related to terms of board members, and reports--among others a report from National Older Adult Conference and plans for the 2014 National Youth Conference.

A class from Bethany Theological Seminary attended and led the Sunday morning worship service. At the close of the meeting, an afternoon workshop sponsored by Congregational Life Ministries was led by David Fitch, B.R. Lindner Chair of Evangelical Theology at Northern Seminary in Chicago.

Janet Elsea holds up sticky notes during an exercise in which board members aided staff in assessing results of the strategic plan
Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford
“By and large there’s hope on every one of these doors for us to be ‘strangers no more.’” -- Janet Elsea, a Mission and Ministry Board member, commenting on how intercultural ministry is increasingly part of various ministries of the denomination. Her comment came during an exercise to assess the Strategic Plan and its six goal areas--Brethren voice, vitality, service, mission, planting, and sustainability. Each goal was represented by a door, and participants wrote sticky notes to place on the doors showing how the goals are being carried out in the church.
The Mission and Ministry Board adopted a revision to the Ministerial Leadership Polity document, after the 2013 Annual Conference returned it with instruction for certain changes. Once adopted the document will represent a major revision to Church of the Brethren polity for ministers. It was presented to the Conference in early July.

The new revision was presented to the board by Mary Jo Flory-Steury, associate general secretary and executive of the Ministry Office. The revision was prepared by the Ministry Advisory Council after conversations with key groups in the denomination including representatives of the plural non-salaried ministry (free ministry) and the Intercultural Advisory Committee. In all, the Ministry Advisory Council has been working on the revision of the document for about seven years.

Numerous revisions respond to Annual Conference concerns in several areas: integration of plural non-salaried ministry (free ministry) into the document, guidelines for the make-up of “calling cohorts” for ministry candidates, a process for commissioned ministers to be ordained and a process for change of call for commissioned ministers, and intentional conversation with ethnic congregations about how the document will affect ministers in their contexts.

The board received the report of the revisions with appreciation, focusing particularly on the guidelines for makeup of calling cohorts. The board made one significant change, to state that calling cohorts “will include” an ordained mentor appointed by the District Ministry Commission. With that change the document received approval from the board, and will be brought back to the 2014 Annual Conference.

General secretary Stan Noffsinger gives closing comments to the Mission and Ministry Board at the end of the fall 2013 meeting
Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford
“We live so intimately with our culture that we grow comfortable, not recognizing the consequences.... Baptism is a radical act of civil disobedience. It marks the clear shift of allegiance from a nation state to our God.” -- General secretary Stan Noffsinger in his closing remarks to the Mission and Ministry Board.
The board approved a total budget of $8,033,860 income, $8,037,110 expense, for all Church of the Brethren ministries in 2014. Those figures include a Core Ministries balanced budget of $4,915,000 for next year, as well as separate budgets for the “self funding” units of Brethren Disaster Ministries, Brethren Press, Conference Office, Global Food Crisis, Material Resources, and Messenger.

The 2014 budget reflects one-time use of funds from the Gahagan Trust for youth and children’s ministries to support the planning for National Youth Conference and curriculum development by Brethren Press, among other youth and children’s ministries. The budget includes a cost of living increase for employee salaries of 2 percent, and continuing employer contributions to employees’ Health Savings Accounts.

Changes to financial policies

The board approved a new Gift Acceptance Policy to help staff evaluate proposed gifts to the church’s ministries, and to set up a committee that reviews proposals for large gifts.

The board also followed up on previous board critique of the practice of charging interest on interfund borrowing within departments of the denomination, and acted to end the practice and delete the section on interfund borrowing from the financial policies.

Capital proposals

Two capital proposals were approved by the board. A proposal for use of up to $125,000 was approved for renovation to the General Offices in Elgin, Ill., to create a handicapped accessible entrance to the building and to renovate two bathrooms to make them handicapped accessible. Funds for the project were raised in a campaign that was carried out some years ago.

A capital proposal for a new database including software, technical support, and design consultation, was approved to the amount of up to $329,000. A “phase two” of the project may require a small amount of additional funding in future years. The money for the project will come from funds set aside in the Building and Equipment Fund for the General Offices.

Samuel Sarpiya preaches for the Mission and Ministry Board Sunday morning worship service
Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford
“What will the neighborhood look like if all the violence and the crime we read about ceases to exist? ...That’s what it means when Jesus moves into the neighborhood, lives are transformed.” -- Samuel Sarpiya, Rockford, Ill., pastor who attended the Mission and Ministry Board meeting with a class of Bethany Seminary students. He was one of two students who gave homilies for Sunday morning worship, along with Tara Shepherd. The seminarians planned and led worship centered on the meeting theme “Jesus Moved into the Neighborhood” (John 1:14, The Message).
After lengthy discussion, and review of suggestions and responses from the table talk at Annual Cnference 2013, the board decided to recommend to the 2014 Annual Conference that no change be made in the process for selecting members of the Mission and Ministry Board.

Several board members and staff expressed trust that the current system works effectively to ensure equitable representation from the various areas of the denomination.

The query that originated in Southern Pennsylvania District was directed to the Mission and Ministry Board by Annual Conference in 2012. However the board’s proposed amendments to the bylaws to respond to the concerns of the query did not receive enough votes from the 2013 Conference, so the business was returned to the board for further work.

Board member terms

The board acted on a by law change that clarified the intention to fill the unexpired term of a board member named chair elect, which requires a separate term of service.

The moving of a board member into the chair elect position has in recent years caused a complex and unequal staggering of terms on the board. The board approved a leadership team proposal that will bring about consistent number of new members on the board each year.

Trent Smith leads the Mission and Ministry Board's closing worship, fall 2013
Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford
“When we come together as the body of Christ our hearts begin to beat as one.... So it is that in these gatherings the space becomes holy ground.” -- Board member Trent Smith, preaching for the closing service of the Mission and Ministry Board’s fall 2013 meeting.
The fall meeting included a discussion of the Brethren Service Center, located in New Windsor, Md. The conversation followed up on a decision made by the Mission and Ministry Board at the summer meeting on June 29, authorizing staff to pursue all options for the property, up to and including receiving letters of intent.

In June the board received a brief update on the situation of the Brethren Service Center following the closing of the New Windsor Conference Center, and heard that staff have been working hard to seek options for the use of two of the main buildings on the campus that are not being fully utilized, including meeting with county officials and real estate consultants.

At this meeting, general secretary Stan Noffsinger gave more background information and reviewed the studies of the denominational properties that began in 2005 and included an intensive study of the Brethren Service Center by the board-appointed Stewardship of Property Committee, which was followed by another committee that looked at ministry options for the property in New Windsor. After the economic downturn that started in 2008 adversely affected the New Windsor Conference Center, the board subsequently decided to close the conference center. Since then staff have continued the search for options for use of the property while monitoring the costs of having some large buildings mostly vacant, and having conversation with other agencies that use center facilities.

“There has been exhaustive work by your staff and people who love the center to find ways to utilize the center,” Noffsinger told the board. He asked the board’s help to discern “how to approach the heart side of this conversation with the church,” noting that the property is not on the market but staff need to be prepared “if and when a bona fide offer comes.” He emphasized that if concerned church members came up with a solution it would be considered, although he warned that upgrade and renovation costs might come to around $10 million.

Several rounds of small group “table talk” followed. Board members, staff, and guests including the class of Bethany Seminary students who were at the meeting, responded to questions including “Identify what has been the essence of the legacy of the Brethren Service Center?” and “Who do we need to engage in similar conversations to identify the holy memories to carry forward?”

The staff hope for a time for similar small group conversations during “table talk” time at the 2014 Annual Conference, Noffsinger said. In the next few months, the Inter Agency Forum and the Council of District Executives’ annual retreat are also possible venues for conversation about the Brethren Service Center.

Wendy McFadden and Anna Speicher lead the board in a celebration of Gather 'Round
Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford
“To give up on publishing our own material for our church members is to give up on the Church of the Brethren.” -- Brethren Press publisher Wendy McFadden, reviewing the history of the Gather ’Round Sunday school curriculum, which is in its concluding eighth year of publication and was celebrated at the Mission and Ministry Board’s fall meeting. She is at the podium with Gather 'Round project director and senior editor Anna Speicher. Shine, the follow up curriculum to Gather ’Round, will be available beginning next fall. Find out more at .
A review of the organization’s Strategic Plan and the six goal areas for the work of the board and staff was led by the executive staff. Stories were told about successes in each area, and continuing work. Then the group was led in an exercise to affirm what people were seeing happening in each area of emphasis.

In a celebration of the Gather ’Round curriculum jointly produced by Brethren Press and MennoMedia, the board saw a presentation highlighting the accumulation of Christian education resources produced by the curriculum staff over the eight years of Gather ’Round. The board expressed appreciation for the work of project director and senior editor Anna Speicher, managing editor Cyndi Fecher, and editorial assistant Roseanne Segovia, who are completing the work and concluding their employment this year.

The board’s Audit and Investment Committee report included the information that the investments managed for the denomination by the Brethren Foundation have increased in value by more than $1.5 million since the end of 2012. The value of the investments now totals more than $26 million.

The Executive Committee of the board approved a proposal for a grant of $47,500 from the David J. And Mary Elizabeth Wieand Trust to fund a new web platform for the sharing of worship resources.

Board member Jonathan Prater was named to the Board Development Committee.

Find a photo album from the Mission and Ministry Board’s fall meeting at

Source: 10/25/2013 Newsline

Getting the best value for your Medicare Part D dollars.

By Kim Ebersole, director of Older Adult Ministry

Did you know that you might be paying more for your medications than you need to if you have Medicare Part D coverage for your prescription drugs? The Medicare website offers tools to help you choose the best plan for your medication needs during open enrollment, now through Dec. 7. By entering your medications, you can see the annual cost for all the plans in your area. You may be surprised by what you find.

There are more things to consider when choosing a Part D plan than just the monthly premium. The price you will pay for your medications can vary significantly from plan to plan, so you need to consider the total cost--premiums plus the price of prescriptions--when making your decision. It is especially important to make sure all your medications are on the formulary (list of drugs covered) for the plan you choose. If they are not, you may pay full price for those drugs, which can make your cost go up significantly.

A test comparison between Part D plans for three medications that treat health conditions older adults often experience--high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and acid reflux--found the annual cost for those medications and the plan premiums ranged from $443 to $1,905 at a retail pharmacy, and from $151 to $2,066 for mail order. That is a significant price difference for the same three medications. It pays to do some checking before signing up to ensure you are getting the best value for your money.

Whether you are signing up for Part D coverage for the first time or deciding whether to stay with your current plan or switch to another during the open enrollment period, the Medicare website makes it easy to check to see what your total annual costs through Part D insurers will be based on your current medications. Not computer savvy? Call Medicare at 800-633-MEDICARE (800-633-4227) for assistance and to sign up.
  • Enter your ZIP code and click on “Find plans.”
  • Answer the questions about your current Medicare coverage and click on “Continue to plan results.”
  • Follow the directions to enter your drugs. When you have entered all of them, click on “My drug list is complete.”
  • Select your pharmacies and click “Continue to plan results.”
  • Select “Prescription drug plans (with Original Medicare)” and click on “Continue to plan results.”
  • Check to make sure you are viewing 2014 plan data. Scroll down to see Prescription Drug Plans. Click on “View 50” to see more plans on your screen.
  • Choose “Lowest estimated annual retail drug cost” to sort results, then click “Sort” button.
  • Scroll down the list. The annual prices of both retail pharmacy and mail order are in the left-hand column.
  • You can click on individual plans to see more information about coverage and costs with that plan. You also can select up to three plans at a time to compare pricing by checking the box next to the plans and clicking on “Compare plans.”
  • If you decide to remain with your current 2013 plan for 2014, you do not need to do anything. If you wish to switch plans during the open enrollment period (Oct. 15-Dec. 7), you can enroll online by selecting the plan and clicking on “Enroll” or you can enroll by phone with the number provided by the plan.
  • The tools can also be used when you sign up for Part D for the first time.
It pays to make sure you are spending your healthcare dollars wisely. Choosing the plan that covers your medication needs at a lower annual expense will help you be a good steward of your resources.

--Kim Ebersole is director of Older Adult Ministry for the Church of the Brethren.

Source: 10/25/2013 Newsline

Webinar on short-term mission trips takes place Nov. 5.

A webinar on short-term mission trips will help address the question, what are the advantages and struggles? The online event on  Tuesday, Nov. 5, at 7 p.m. central time (8 p.m. eastern) will be led by Emily Tyler, the Church of the Brethren’s coordinator of Workcamps and Volunteer Recruitment, and is one of a series of webinars focused on youth ministry

Additionally, participants will talk through what to expect of youth, and what might be expected of adult advisors of youth, when participating in such trips.

A .1 continuing education credit is available for ministers who participate in the real-time event. Credit cannot be obtained for watching the recording after the webinar takes place. To request credit contact Rebekah Houff at prior to the webinar.

To join the webinar on Nov. 5, dial 877-204-3718 (toll free) and enter access code 8946766. After joining the audio portion, join the video portion by logging in to

A third webinar in this series focused on youth ministry is planned for Jan. 21, 2014, when Rebekah Houff will lead a discussion on call and gifts discernment. For more information contact Youth and Young Adult Ministry director Becky Ullom Naugle at 847-429-4385.

In related news, Congregational Life Ministries has rescheduled the webinar "Pioneers--Embracing the Unknown," which was to take place Oct. 24. The webinar led by Juliet Kilpin is rescheduled for Thursday, Nov. 7, at 2:30 p.m. (eastern time). Registration for the free webinar remains open at

Source: 10/25/2013 Newsline

Booz, Cassell, and Hosler named as consultants for the next year.

Three people have been named as consultants for various ministry areas of the Church of the Brethren, in an announcement from the human resources department. Donald R. Booz will serve as a consultant to the Office of Ministry; Dana Cassell will continue as contract staff for Ministry Formation; and Jennifer Hosler has been contracted to work on a writing project for Congregational Life Ministries.

Booz, who is retiring as district executive minister of Pacific Southwest District, will begin Jan. 1 as a consultant to the Office of Ministry for district ministry support for the year 2014. He will conduct a review, evaluation, and update for the Readiness for Ministry Program. The review will be conducted in partnership with the Council of District Executives through its Ministry Issues Committee, Bethany Theological Seminary, and the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership. He also will assist with orientation and coaching of new district executive staff, and assist with revising and finalizing credentialing interview guides.

Cassell, who is minister of Youth Formation at Manassas (Va.) Church of the Brethren, continues her work as contract staff for Ministry Formation through 2014. On behalf of the Office of Ministry, her work includes coordination of the 2014 Clergy Women’s Retreat and a newly formed Minister’s Manual development task team, interpretation and resource development for the Ministerial Leadership Polity paper, coordination planning for Ministry Summer Service, and resource development for sustaining ministerial leadership.

Hosler is one of the ministers and an outreach coordinator at Washington (D.C.) City Church of the Brethren. She has been contracted to work on a Stories from the Cities project of Congregational Life Ministries, beginning this month through Jan. 2015. The goal of the project is to help urban congregations share their unique stories with the denomination, in order to increase awareness of Church of the Brethren urban churches, foster increased interest in urban ministries, and help others learn from the unique contexts that city churches face. She has a background in community research and biblical and theological studies, and previously was a peace and reconciliation worker with Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN--the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) working through Global Mission and Service.

Source: 10/25/2013 Newsline

WCC general secretary speaks about hopes for the council’s 10th assembly.

World Council of Churches general secretary Olav Fykse Tveit
Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford
World Council of Churches general secretary Olav Fykse Tveit
By the WCC news service

The 10th Assembly of the World Council of Churches (WCC) begins at the end of October and promises to be one of the most diverse gathering of Christians in the world. The assembly will be an opportunity for renewing the worldwide ecumenical movement--infusing it with honesty, humility, and hope, according to the WCC general secretary.

As to why this is the case, Olav Fykse Tveit, WCC general secretary and a Lutheran pastor from the Church of Norway, says it is “through humility, honesty, and hope that we can live together as humanity and a church in a world, where justice and peace are fundamental initiatives and not merely words.”

The theme of the WCC assembly is a prayer: “God of Life, Lead Us to Justice and Peace.” The assembly will take place from Oct. 30 to Nov. 8 in Busan, Republic of Korea (South Korea). It will bring around 3,000 participants from Asia, Pacific, Africa, Europe, Middle East, North America, and Latin America, including a large number of young people and several thousand Korean Christians.

In the assembly, Tveit finds the foundation of his hopes in the legacy of the WCC, which began in 1948 and has continued during the past 65 years. The member churches, Tveit says, will be harvesting fruits of the work of the WCC since the last WCC assembly in Porto Alegre, Brazil, in 2006, while setting directions for a new ecumenical vision for the future. There are 345 member churches in the WCC and all but a few will be represented at the assembly.

Tveit expects the WCC assembly to be an opportunity of learning. “Churches will engage in open and accountable conversations,” he said, about issues important to the church today such as mission and evangelism, faith and order, justice, peace, and unity. This dialogue is significant for the WCC assembly as “justice and peace imply effectively addressing core values of the kingdom of God, the will of God, the creator,” he says.

The proposal made by the outgoing WCC Central Committee that the assembly initiates a pilgrimage of justice and peace can unite Christians in a unique way, according to Tveit. This aspect, he says, also is echoed in the call from Pope Francis in which he has proclaimed that the church is here to serve, for justice and peace.

“This call makes us look beyond our boundaries and limitations journeying towards being a church together. The assembly will bring a realization of what we have received. But, we are not finished with our tasks and we have to continue our work and prayers for Christian unity.”

The WCC assembly will feature varied spiritual expressions from churches around the world. The participants will share these reflections of Christian unity through worship, Bible study, and prayer.

Having the assembly in South Korea is significant, Tveit says. “The assembly will be a place for the global fellowship of the churches to express solidarity with the Korean churches, which have suffered separations and had been calling for the reunification of the divided Korean peninsula,” he said.

Simultaneously, Asia being one of the areas of rising economies in the world, Tveit sees a great potential for the assembly to provide a critical and hopeful voice in the reality of globalization and a development paradigm that needs to change to be just and sustainable. “The WCC assembly for the churches is a place to strengthen a deeper understanding of the Asian contexts through sharing, caring, and dialogue,” he said.

“Praying that this is an assembly where we all meet the God of life, we also look forward to move forward together in a pilgrimage for justice and peace,” he concluded.

The first WCC Assembly took place in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in 1948. Since then assemblies have been in held in Evanston, in the United States, in 1954; New Delhi, India, in 1961; Uppsala, Sweden, in 1968; Nairobi, Kenya, in 1975; Vancouver, Canada, in 1983; Canberra, Australia, in 1991; Harare, Zimbabwe, in 1998; and Porto Alegre, Brazil, in 2006.

Find out more at the website of the WCC 10th Assembly:

Source: 10/25/2013 Newsline

Divided Korean peninsula is steeped in decades of pain and sadness.

By the communications staff of the World Council of Churches
The distance between the North Korean and South Korean sides of the demarcation line (DMZ) near Panmunjom can be measured in a few meters.

Yet for Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the WCC, this short distance fails to mask a deeper and wider divide steeped in decades of pain and sadness experienced by the Korean people.

While visiting the North Korean side of the DMZ recently, Tveit said, "The pain of separation felt by Koreans on both sides of the border is hard to ignore and escape. They are a divided people, divided families, longing for peace and justice and to be reunited."

"Our objectives (in the WCC) are to work toward this peace and reunification," Tveit said following a visit to the North during which he met with newly appointed church leaders of the Korean Christian Federation (KFC) and leaders of the North Korean government.

Tveit was accompanied on the five-day trip, Sept. 21-25, by Metropolitan Gennadios of Sassima, from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, and Mathews George Chunakara, director of the WCC’s Commission of the Churches on International Affairs.

The group visited the KCF’s Theological Seminary and construction site of the Chigol Church, a church in North Korea’s capital city, Pyongyang. They participated in the Sunday worship service at the Bongsang Church in Pyongyang, and a house church meeting.

The visit came one month before the WCC holds its 10th Assembly in Busan, Republic of Korea (South Korea), from Oct. 30-Nov. 8.

During meetings with the KCF chairman, Kang Myung Chul, and Ri Jong Ro, the KCF’s vice chairman and director of International Relations, discussions included the potential of holding talks in Geneva early in 2014 between church leaders from North and South Korea.

The idea of the Geneva talks was well received during an hour-long meeting in Pyongyang with Kim Yong-nam, president, Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly of North Korea.

Tveit reiterated to Kim Yong-nam the WCC’s commitment to work for a peaceful reunification of divided Korea, saying the upcoming WCC assembly will be “an opportunity to pray and encourage the attention of the international community, to work for renewed support and understanding of the WCC role for creating dialogue for reunification in the Korean peninsula.”

This is not the first time the WCC has convened talks between church leaders of North and South Korea. The WCC has been engaged in facilitating talks between churches in North and South Korea since its Tozanso process was initiated in 1984. But with new leadership in the KCF and the North Korean government, and a new president in South Korea, there is hope the churches in North and South Korea, as well as others within the WCC membership, will have a more pronounced impact on moving reunification forward.

The issue of the divided Korea and reunification will be on the agenda at the WCC Assembly with plans for a statement on peace and reunification of the Korean peninsula to be adopted by the assembly.

Source: 10/25/2013 Newsline

Christian activists pray and fast to protest nuclear dangers in Busan and beyond.

By the WCC news service

In preparation for the World Council of Churches (WCC) 10th Assembly in Busan, Republic of Korea (South Korea), pastors and peace activists are holding a 40-day “fasting prayer” in front of the Busan City Hall. They are protesting the dangers of nuclear radiation and asking to shut down South Korea’s oldest and incident-prone Kori Nuclear Power Plant, some 20 kilometres from the venue of the WCC Assembly.

The 35-year-old Kori Nuclear Power Plant has broken down 120 times. There are 3.4 million people living within 30 kilometres of the Kori Power Plant. Local residents fear a meltdown, mindful of the disasters at Fukushima in Japan and Chernobyl in Ukraine.

South Korea has the highest geographic density of nuclear power plants in the world. Korean Christians participating in the fasting prayer want to remind the world’s Christians that the WCC Assembly is taking place in the most dangerous part of the world in terms of threats from nuclear power plants and from the nuclear stand-off involving four countries with nuclear weapons--United Sates, Russia, China, and North Korea.

The protesters are asking the WCC Assembly to tackle the issue of nuclear weapons and power generation as central to the proposed “ecumenical pilgrimage of justice and peace.”

One of the Busan prayers repents for having “stopped our ears to the dangers of nuclear power generation despite the warning from Fukushima.” Another asks that all Christians “abandon the great catastrophe of nuclear weapons and power plants” and “walk together toward the path of peace” instead.

The 40 day fasting prayer began on Sept. 30 and will end on Nov. 8, the last day of the WCC Assembly.

Busan lies just across a strait from Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Massive quantities of radioactive water are still seeping into the ocean from the stricken Fukushima plant each day.

Prayers of the Korean ministers and peace activists:

We repent that our lives that have caused catastrophic problems for the ecology and have threatened the survival of all humankind by indiscreet use of nuclear energy;

We repent that we have turned blind eyes and stopped our ears to the dangers of nuclear power generation despite the warning from Fukushima;

We pray that we can turn from the road to nuclear power generation which can be disastrous to ecology and humanity;

We pray that a world of peace is realized and the dignity of life is protected as we convert nuclear energy into renewable natural energy;

We pray that the world's Christians may abandon the great catastrophe of nuclear weapons and power plants and instead walk together toward the path of peace for all.

Source: 10/25/2013 Newsline

Peace Train takes a journey towards reunification of the Koreas.

By the WCC news service

A Peace Train recently started its journey from Berlin, Germany, through Russia and China, to northeast Asia and the World Council of Churches (WCC) 10th assembly in Busan, Republic of Korea (South Korea).

The train, which aims to raise awareness about the 60-year division of the Korean Peninsula, will travel through Moscow, Irkutsk, Beijing, Pyongyang and Seoul, and will finally arrive in Busan around the beginning of the assembly. The Peace Train is a project of the National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK) and the Korean Host Committee for the WCC assembly.

Some 130 people from around the world are travelling on the Peace Train and include church and civil society representatives. They will arrive in Busan on Oct. 28 and share their experiences at the WCC assembly. The train will highlight the importance of achieving peace on the Korean peninsula, cooperating with the churches of those countries which participated in the division of the Korean peninsula in 1953.

As part of this project, a seminar on “Religious Communities for Justice and Peace” has been organized in Moscow, the second stop of the Peace Train. The event was held in collaboration with the Russian Orthodox Church on Oct. 11.

WCC staff including Guillermo Kerber, program executive for Care for Creation and Climate Justice, and Mathews George Chunakara, director of the Commission of the Churches on International Affairs, addressed the seminar. Kerber expressed “heartfelt appreciation” on behalf of the WCC for the efforts of the NCCK and the Korean Host Committee in coordinating the Peace Train project. He said, “Being confronted by overwhelming crises, churches and religious communities must overcome their divisions, speak out, and react as an expression of their commitment to life, peace, justice, and love.”

“A pilgrimage is always a transformative experience. May the Peace Train transform your lives, our lives, the lives of all of those going to the assembly,” Kerber added.

Catherine Christie from the NCCK and the Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea, herself a traveller on the Peace Train, shared how Bible studies and discussions during the journey are a transformative experience. She said that many people in our world “suffer because of the corporate sin in our world--suffer from militarism, national hostilities.

“This group, made up of people from some African nations, India, Korea, European nations, Australia, New Zealand, North America, and Brazil,” creates “a variety of perspectives and wisdom,” added Christie.

In Berlin, where the Peace Train commenced its journey, several programs were organized by the German churches. One of these was a Peace Candlelight Prayer Vigil which took place in front of the Brandenburg Gate on Oct. 7. Among the speakers were Konrad Raiser and Kim Young Ju. Around 120 people from 15 countries participated in the event.

Find out more at the Peace Train website The website of the WCC 10th Assembly is

Source: 10/25/2013 Newsline

‘Thursdays in Black’ shows zero tolerance for violence against women.

The World Council of Churches (WCC) is working to revive “Thursdays in Black,” a campaign against sexual and gender-based violence. The emphasis is pertinent to the theme of the WCC’s upcoming assembly: “God of Life, Lead Us to Justice and Peace.”

On Oct. 31, during the assembly in Busan, Republic of Korea (South Korea), participants will be encouraged to wear black and through this simple gesture, to be part of a global movement urging an end to violence against women.

Thursdays in Black was started by the WCC in the 1980s as a form of peaceful protest against rape and violence--especially taking place during wars and conflicts. The campaign focuses on ways through which individuals may challenge attitudes that cause rape and violence.

“Thursdays in Black,” according to Fulata Mbano-Moyo, WCC program executive for Women in Church and Society, is a “united global expression of the desire for safe communities where we can all walk safely without fear of being raped, shot at, beaten up, verbally abused, and discriminated against due to one’s gender or sexual orientation.

“Through this campaign we want to accompany our sisters, who bear the scars of violence, invisible and visible, in Syria, Palestine and Israel, Egypt, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan, and the whole world, where women’s bodies remain a battlefield, whether in armed conflict or so-called ‘peaceful’ situations,” adds Mbano-Moyo.

“Through this campaign we are demanding a world free of rape and violence!”

The Thursdays in Black campaign is significant for the women and men’s pre-assembly events in Busan, where issues related to violence against women will be in focus, instigating varied reflections from theological, ethical, legal, spiritual, social, and political perspectives. The pre-assembly programs take place on Oct. 28-29.

Thursdays in Black has influenced several church and ecumenical initiatives in the 1970s and 1980s, including the Ecumenical Decade of Churches in Solidarity with Women. The campaign was further strengthened by the “Women in Black” campaign born out of women-to-women solidarity visits to Serbia and Croatia during the Balkan war in the 1990s. Through this initiative, Serbian women called people to join them in speaking against the use of rape as a weapon of war.

Thursday in Black also has a link with Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, a movement of mothers who protested against the policy of having dissidents "disappeared"--a term used to describe people killed during the political violence in Argentina between the 1970s and 1980s. These mothers walked around Plazo de Mayo in Buenos Aires every Thursday to register their protest.

The Thursdays in Black campaign is currently observed in South Africa by the Diakonia Council of Churches and the Christian AIDS Bureau of Southern Africa, ecumenical partners of the WCC’s project Ecumenical HIV and AIDS Initiative in Africa and the International Network of Religious Leaders Living with or Personally Affected by HIV or AIDS.

The WCC will continue to work with its partner organizations to revive the Thursdays in Black campaign. Partners include CABSA, We Will Speak Out Coalition, Lutheran World Federation, Fellowship of the Least Coin, United Methodist Women, and the World YWCA, among others.

Find out more about the WCC program on Women in Church and Society at

Source: 10/25/2013 Newsline

The WCC Assembly by the numbers.

Home page image for WCC 10th Assembly in Busan, South Korea, 2013 By Ka Hyun MacKenzie Shin and Roddy MacKenzie

The WCC Assembly in South Korea will be the largest and most diverse gathering of Christians ever. What will happen in Korea will be a unique moment in the worldwide Christian ecumenical movement. Those coming to Korea for this extraordinary gathering include:

1,000 official delegates from 90 percent of the WCC's

345 Christian denominations in 110 countries

575 representatives of non-WCC member Christian churches and other guests

1,000 Korean host volunteers

1,000 international assembly participants including hundreds of young people

150 stewards recruited from worldwide, young people between the ages of 18 and 30 who will give their time and energy to assist the assembly in its work

300 WCC staff and "co-opted staff" invited to assist with various tasks at the assembly

130 international accredited media including several hundred Korean media

180 students and faculty from the Global Ecumenical Theological Institute plus students and faculty of the Korean Ecumenical Theological Institute

30 minutes of Daily Morning Prayers commencing each day at 8:30 a.m. followed by 30 minutes of Bible study

30 minutes of Daily Evening Prayers to conclude each 12-hour fully packed day from 8 to 8:30 p.m., followed by Confessional Evening Prayers and Vesper Services of the various member denominations

-- From a release by Ka Hyun MacKenzie Shin of St. Stephen the Martyr Anglican Church in Vancouver, Canada, and Roddy MacKenzie, communications volunteer at the WCC Assembly.

Source: 10/25/2013 Newsline

Brethren bits.

  • Remembrance: Ruth Christ Baugher, 95, the widow of former Church of the Brethren general secretary Norman Baugher, died on Oct. 15 at Hillcrest Homes in La Verne, Calif. She had lived at Hillcrest Homes since 1985. Her husband became general secretary of the former General Board in 1952, and died in 1968. During that time she lived in Elgin, Ill., and after her husband’s death she held secretarial positions in several places including the denomination’s General Offices. She was a member of Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin, Ill., for some 33 years prior to moving to southern California. Two sons, four grandsons, and several great grandchildren survive her. A memorial service will be held on Nov. 22 at Hillcrest Homes.
  • 2014-retreat-logoThe cost to attend the 2014 Church of the Brethren Clergy Women’s Retreat go up on Nov. 1. The retreat takes place Jan. 13-16 at the Serra Retreat Center in Malibu, Calif. “Hand in Hand, Heart to Heart: On the Journey Together” is the theme. Leading the retreat will be Melissa Wiginton, vice president for Education Beyond the Walls at Austin Seminary. The scriptural focus is Philippians 1:3-11 (CEB), “I keep you in my heart. You are all my partners in God’s grace.” For online registration and more information go to .
  • Mt. Zion Church of the Brethren in Luray, Va., is hosting Steve Mason, director of the Brethren Foundation Inc., for a discussion of investment opportunities for churches and individuals on Sunday, Nov. 10, at 3 p.m.
  • Happy Corner Church of the Brethren in Clayton, Ohio, is hosting a Ted and Company performance of “Peace, Pies, and Prophets” with a pie auction benefiting Christian Peacemaker Teams. The Nov. 23 event centers around a performance of “I’d Like to Buy an Enemy” starring Ted Swartz and Tim Ruebke, and starts at 6:30 p.m. Admission is $10.
  • The Gathering 2013, a headline event in Western Plains District, takes place Nov. 1-3 in Salina, Kan. “What Now?! Where Next?!” is the theme, inspired by Luke 24:13-35, in which disciples encounter the risen Christ on the road to Emmaus. “The prayer is that our Gathering will inspire us in a new way, also, as we continue to journey with Jesus,” said an announcement from the district. Speakers include Annual Conference moderator Nancy Sollenberger Heishman, and Jeff Carter, president of Bethany Theological Seminary. More information is at .
  • The Congregational Care Advisory Team in Shenandoah District is sponsoring a seminar titled "Worship God's Way: Biblical Models of Worship," on Nov. 16 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Mt. Pleasant Church of the Brethren in Harrisonburg, Va. Leah J. Hileman, pianist for the 2008 Annual Conference and music coordinator for the 2010 Annual Conference, will be the seminar leader. She is the author of more than 250 songs and has written, recorded, and produced four Christian pop albums. Cost is $15 and 0.5 continuing education units are available to minister for an additional $10. Registration is due by Nov. 6. Go to .
  • Also in Shenandoah District, a Brethren Heritage Tour is being organized for the weekend of Jan. 17-19, 2014. The tour will take a bus to Pennsylvania to visit the Ephrata Cloisters, the Moravian settlement, and the Germantown area, among other places with special significance to Brethren, said the district newsletter. The event is being planned by the Pastoral Support Committee of the Shenandoah District Ministerial Leadership Team. Tour leaders will be Jeff Bach, director of the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College, and Jim Miller, retired district executive of Shenandoah District. Cost is $140 per person for double occupancy and includes two nights' lodging, admission to tour sites, and chartered bus transportation from Bridgewater, Va. Participants will be responsible for meals and tips or gratuities. Contact the district office at or 540-234-8555.
  • Illinois and Wisconsin District Conference will be Nov. 1-2 at Mt Morris (Ill.) Church of the Brethren, assisted by Pinecrest Community, a Church of the Brethren retirement community in Mt. Morris. Mark Flory Steury will serve as moderator, leading the conference on the theme, “Renew” (Romans 12:2). The Friday evening speaker will be Jonathan Shively, executive director of Congregational Life Ministries.
  • Shenandoah District Conference will be Nov. 1-2 on the theme, “Living the Gospel,” at Bridgewater (Va.) Church of the Brethren led by moderator Glenn Bollinger. Former Annual Conference moderator Tim Harvey will bring the opening message on Friday evening, with music by a choir singing under the direction of Jesse E. Hopkins, professor emeritus of music at Bridgewater College. The evening includes a district-wide Love Feast as spiritual preparation for business sessions. In advance of the conference, the district newsletter invited congregations to share Love Feast traditions such as who makes the communion bread, a treasured recipe, how children participate, the menu for the meal, and more. “Based on some recent informal conversations, it seems we have a wide range of traditions just here in our district,” said the newsletter. “Let us hear your voice.”
  • Pacific Southwest District is holding its 50th District Conference on Nov. 8-10 in Scottsdale, Ariz., at the Franciscan Renewal Center. “Our meeting comes at a time of challenge to the Brethren and indeed to almost all Christian denominations,” said an invitation from moderator Jim LeFever, “but also at a time when a variety of bright sparks show hope in many directions. Let us join in thinking, discussion and prayer as we take up the work of our faith in the West and beyond.” Prior to the conference, an all-ministers education event will be held Nov. 7-8 with leadership by James Benedict on the topic “Community Centered Authority: Biblical, Theological, and Historical Foundations.” Find out more at
  • Virlina District Conference is Nov. 8-9 at Greene Memorial United Methodist Church in Roanoke, Va., on the theme, “Come Near to God and He Will Come Near to You” (James 4:7-8a). Moderator Frances S. Beam is encouraging each individual and congregation, and every camper who participates at Camp Bethel, to write a letter about their experiences of the nearness of God. The letters will be displayed at the district conference and incorporated into the worship and business sessions. Nancy Sollenberger Heishman, moderator of the 2014 Annual Conference, will preach for Friday and Saturday worship.
  • The Camp Harmony Pig Roast is Sunday, Oct. 27, from 12 noon-2 p.m. Ticket prices are adults $10, children age 6-12 $5, under age 6 is free. The camp is located near Hooversville, Pa. For more information go to .
  • The Fall Lecture at CrossRoads, the Valley Brethren-Mennonite Heritage Center in Virginia, will feature Bob Gross, director of development at On Earth Peace, sharing experiences from the 3,000 Miles for Peace campaign. The lecture takes place at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 3, at Montezuma Church of the Brethren in Dayton, Va.
  • 26407.jpgPeacemaker Shane Claiborne will speak at Bridgewater (Va.) College’s Fall Spiritual Focus. “Shane Claiborne’s adventures have taken him from the streets of Calcutta, where he worked with Mother Teresa, to an internship at Willow Creek, a mega-church in the suburbs of Chicago,” said a release. Claiborne also has worked with Christian Peacemaker Teams in Iraq, and is a founder and leader of the Simple Way faith community in inner-city Philadelphia. His books include “Jesus for President,” “Red Letter Revolution,” “Common Prayer,” “Follow Me to Freedom,” “Becoming the Answer to Our Prayers,” and “The Irresistible Revolution.” He will be speaking at Bridgewater on Tuesday, Nov. 5, at 7:30 p.m., in the Carter Center for Worship and Music. A reception will follow. The program is free and open to the public.
  • Herb Smith, McPherson (Kan.) College professor of Philosophy and Religion, is organizing a study trip to China on Jan. 14-24, 2014. “As the Pacific Century is now upon us, we will venture forth to explore the Dragon Kingdom, ancient and contemporary China,” said an announcement. “Besides the Great Wall, Forbidden City, Summer Palace, Temple of Heaven, Ming Dynasty Tombs, Terra Cotta Soldiers Tomb, other cultural treats await us.” The trip will include riding on a bullet train, dinner cruise in Shanghai, as well as study of the religions of the Middle Kingdom. For brochures and more information contact or 620-242-0533.
  • “Learn Martin Luther King Jr.’s principles of nonviolence from a Palestinian Christian!” says an invitation to a workshop in Akron, Pa., sponsored by and featuring Tarek Abuata, Christian Peacemaker Teams coordinator for Palestine and a nonviolence trainer. The “intensive experiential workshop” is to give participants a comprehensive introduction to King’s philosophy and strategy of nonviolence. It will be held at Akron Mennonite Church on Nov. 16-17. Participation is limited. Partial scholarships to offset the $100 fee are available. Contact registrar H.A. Penner at or 717-859-3529 prior to Nov. 4.
Source: 10/25/2013 Newsline


Newsline is produced by the news services of the Church of the Brethren. Contact the editor at Contributors to this issue of Newsline include Deborah Brehm, Stan Dueck, Kim Ebersole, Mary Jo Flory-Steury, Mary Kay Heatwole , Ka Hyun MacKenzie Shin and Roddy MacKenzie, Becky Ullom Naugle, Stan Noffsinger, Harold Penner, Howard Royer, LeAnn Wine, and editor Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services for the Church of the Brethren.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Newsline: October 19, 2013


On Earth Peace board elects new officers, meets with Standing Committee delegation.

By Madalyn Metzger

The On Earth Peace board and staff gathered at Camp Eder in Fairfield, Pa., for their fall board meeting, Sept. 19-21.

One major item of business was the election of new board officers for 2014. Madalyn Metzger (Bristol, Ind.), who has served as the On Earth Peace board chair for five years, is stepping down from that role, but will continue on as a board member. In addition, Robbie Miller (Bridgewater, Va.) and Ben Leiter (Amherst, Mass.) will not continue on as board vice chair and board secretary (respectively), due to their terms of service ending.

“Over the past five years, On Earth Peace has taken important steps in expanding its mission and ministry,” Metzger said. “It has been my honor and privilege to help lead this work during that time, and I am excited to see what the future holds for the organization.”

For 2014, the board has called Jordan Bles (Lexington, Ken.) as board chair, Gail Erisman Valeta (Denver, Colo.) as board vice chair, and Chris Riley (Luray, Va.) as board secretary.

The board of directors and staff also welcomed a second delegation from the Church of the Brethren Standing Committee to continue dialogue regarding On Earth Peace’s statement of inclusion. Standing Committee had requested this in its meeting prior to the 2013 Church of the Brethren Annual Conference in Charlotte, N.C. The two groups considered various questions, such as how agencies, committees, districts, congregations, and individuals in the denomination may walk in love together in the face of differing interpretations of scripture and Annual Conference statements and decisions. The two groups agreed to continue the conversation in the coming months.

Other items of business included discussion of next steps in On Earth Peace’s elimination of racism training and audit--an initiative by the board and staff to continue addressing issues of institutional racism both within and outside of the organization. The board approved a budget for the 2014 fiscal year, and received updates on the “3,000 Miles for Peace” campaign, activities surrounding Peace Day 2013, and updates on other programmatic areas.

During the meeting, the board welcomed new members John Cassel (Oak Park, Ill.) and Chris Riley. The group recognized outgoing board members Robbie Miller, Ben Leiter, Joel Gibbel (Lititz, Pa.), and Lauree Hersch Meyer (Durham, N.C.) for their service.

As an agency of the Church of the Brethren, On Earth Peace answers Jesus Christ’s call for peace and justice through its ministries; builds thriving families, congregations, and communities; and provides the skills, support, and spiritual foundation to face violence with active nonviolence. On Earth Peace conducts discussion and decision-making by consensus.

-- Madalyn Metzger is concluding her term of service as chair of the On Earth Peace board.

Source: 10/19/2013 Newsline

Church of the Brethren joins in message to Congress on re-opening government.

Earlier this week, as the US Congress continued to wrangle over the impasse that closed the government for more than two weeks, scores of religious leaders descended on Capitol Hill on Oct. 15 to call the government back to work.

The Church of the Brethren was one of 32 denominations and faith-based organizations to endorse an accompanying message to Congress calling for the re-opening of the government. Ecumenical organizations participating included the National Council of Churches (NCC), and Church World Service (CWS).

The “pilgrimage” of faith leaders that took place Oct. 15 visited offices of members of the House of Representatives, and included prayer for the members and prayer to immediately end the government shutdown, an NCC release said. “At each office the group prayed for the member and left a letter endorsed by religious organizations,” reported an NCC release on the event. “Simultaneously, people of faith delivered over 32,000 petitions to Congressional offices around the country calling on House Members to end the government shutdown. The petition signers are members of Faithful America,” the release said.

The full text of the message delivered to members of Congress follows:
Calling the Government Back to Work

Dear Member of Congress:

As people of faith and conscience, we urge you to place shared democratic values above short term political expediency, exercise the courage to fund our nation’s government, raise the debt limit without preconditions, and get back to work on a faithful budget that serves the common good.

Shuttering the federal government and propelling the United States into financial default to achieve narrow political objectives is short-sighted and self-destructive. The danger for all who value democracy--regardless of party affiliation--is apparent. One only needs to consider this precedent being applied to other policy concerns of a minority in Congress who are powerful within their own party but unable to create legislative change within the bounds of due process.

Blocking routine but essential functions of government to extract specific policy concessions could destroy America’s democratic process.

To take such rash and destructive action in order to prevent further implementation of the Affordable Care Act--which addresses the needs of 50 million people without health insurance--is a grave moral failure. While the ACA has its limitations, it implements a market-based model with a history of bi-partisan support. Repealing or defunding it will hurt millions of people and many small businesses. We urge all members of Congress to stand up for our democracy and reject this futile and harmful effort.

Additional damage accrues each day the government remains in partial shutdown:
  • Federal funding for the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program may not be able to cover all benefits. Some states have already closed WIC offices, and many participants are terrified that they won’t be able to find nourishment for themselves or their infants and toddlers.
  • An estimated 19,000 impoverished children are without preschool because of the shutdown, which left more than 20 programs across 11 states without funding on the heels of devastating sequester cuts. Those previous cuts had already shut out 57,000 at-risk children who lost their Head Start slots.
  • Many low-wage workers are losing their paychecks or seeing their earnings dwindle even further. Examples include government mailroom clerks, many of whom are people with disabilities, who work for government contractors. Even if furloughed federal employees are eventually paid, many others who work for contractors have no such assurance.
  • The Administration for Children and Families, which cares for children in abusive and violent family situations, announced that certain child welfare programs will not be funded during the shutdown.
  • Our environmental wellbeing is suffering and our citizens are at risk as health inspectors, EPA inspectors and a myriad others who enforce important laws are unable to do their jobs.
  • In addition, a failure to raise the debt limit on spending that Congress has already approved will undermine our still fragile economy and harm the global economy, especially the most vulnerable.
You hold a key to doing what is right for the American people, and we pray for you to act in the best interest of our nation. Once this unnecessary and dangerous stalemate is over, we count on you to act on behalf of all of our people and enact a Faithful Budget. Stop the partisan paralysis and uphold what our Constitution refers to as the “general welfare”--the common good of all.

With hope and a belief in the ultimate goodwill and good sense of Members of Congress, we hold you in our hearts and prayers.

Am Kolel Jewish Jewish Renewal Community (Md., D.C., Va.)
Center of Concern
Church of the Brethren
Church World Service
Conference of Major Superiors of Men
Disciples Justice Action Network (Disciples of Christ)
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Washington Office
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Justice and Witness Ministries, United Church of Christ
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd
NETWORK: A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
The Shalom Center
Unitarian Universalist Association
United Methodist Church General Board of Church and Society
American Friends Service Committee
Center on Conscience and War
Church Women United
Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach
Disciples Home Missions, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Ecumenical Advocacy Days for Global Peace with Justice
Franciscan Action Network
Interfaith Moral Action of Climate
Leadership Conference of Women Religious
Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, Office of Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation
The National Council of the Churches of Christ, USA
Pax Christi USA
Reconstructionist Rabbinical College
Sisters of Mercy of the Americas - Institute Leadership Team
United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries
United Methodist Women
Source: 10/19/2013 Newsline

Manchester president Switzer to retire, university leader McFadden named successor.

By Jeri S. Kornegay 

Manchester University president Jo Young Switzer has announced her plans to retire June 30, 2014, contributing a legacy of strategic and mission-focused leadership that has transformed the university’s academic breadth, financial strength, enrollment, and visibility. The Board of Trustees accepted her retirement today with deep respect and admiration for a job well done.

Trustees also acted on their succession plan, naming executive vice president and dean of the College of Pharmacy Dave McFadden to the presidency, effective July 1, 2014.

As its first female president, Switzer has led her alma mater to critical successes and exciting community collaborations. “President Switzer has led Manchester at a pace and with a strategic focus unprecedented in the history of Manchester,” said Marsha Link, chair of the Board of Trustees. “She has led from within and has also risen to great respect across higher education as a dynamic and thoughtful leader.”

Among the transformations at Manchester during the past nine years:
  • A 25 percent enrollment increase in enrollment
  • A new four-year professional Doctor of Pharmacy program on a new campus in Fort Wayne with $35 million in seed funds from Lilly Endowment Inc.
  • More than $89 million raised so far toward the $100 million Students First! campaign
  • The opening of a $17 million Science Center, $8 million Union, $9 million Academic Center, $1.5 million classroom and locker room addition – all on a greener North Manchester campus
  • The transition from college to university, reflecting the growing complexity of the 124-year-old institution
  • Enhanced visibility of Manchester, including national recognition for its volunteer programs, workplace quality, three-year degree and affordable excellence
  • A collaborator in initiatives to strengthen northeast Indiana
When members of the Board of Trustees selected Switzer in 2004, they knew her well for her academic leadership and communication skills. She was Manchester’s vice president and dean for academic affairs and former chair of the Department of Communication Studies. She stepped comfortably into the president’s role, stressing stewardship and accountability.

In anticipation of her retirement, the Board of Trustees appointed a special Succession Planning Committee last spring. Modeling best practices in higher education for succession planning, the ten-member committee of Trustees, faculty and staff began a two-stage approach for selecting the University’s next president. The element of confidentiality was considered essential by the committee primarily to protect the identity of an internal candidate. As a result of the committee’s due diligence and subsequent recommendation, the Board of Trustees unanimously voted this this morning to appoint Dave McFadden to become president of Manchester University, effective July 1, 2014.

A member of the president’s leadership cabinet, McFadden is executive vice president and dean of the College of Pharmacy. He has deep roots in Manchester University and the Church of the Brethren, which founded the school more than 124 years ago.

“Dave is an outstanding selection as Manchester’s next president” said Switzer. “He is prepared, has exceptional leadership skills and most importantly, the commitment and desire to see Manchester University do great things.”

As executive vice president and MU’s former enrollment expert, Dave McFadden spearheaded the Fast Forward three-year degree and Triple Guarantee programs that brought more students to Manchester and garnered national attention. “Dave has helped people see that Manchester has always been a place of affordable excellence. These programs have been in place for many years and have served as a model for other schools to insure the investment cost of a college degree,” Switzer said.

He coordinated the feasibility study that led to the Board of Trustees’ decision to establish a professional Doctor of Pharmacy program on the Fort Wayne campus. He became dean of the College of Pharmacy in May 2012, after six months as interim dean. The four-year school enrolled its second class this fall, and has achieved candidate accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education.

McFadden is a 1982 graduate of Manchester and earned a Ph.D. in political science at Claremont Graduate University. He led Manchester’s enrollment initiatives beginning in 1993. McFadden has served as executive vice president throughout Switzer’s presidency and also as an assistant professor of political science, with particular interest in environmental policy.

McFadden also is a member of the Board of Trustees of Bethany Theological Seminary. He is a former chair of the boards of the Community Foundation of Wabash County, Manchester Main Street Inc., HOPE community supported agricultural organization and Manchester Church of the Brethren.

He has served as an enrollment management and accreditation consultant to other colleges and universities and as a visiting evaluator for the Higher Learning Commission.

In his service to the denomination, he was a coordinator of National Youth Conference in 1978 as a young adult, and also served on the staff of the former General Board for a term in the 1980s where he worked in the human resources office to recruit mission and Brethren Volunteer Service workers.

He and his wife, Renee, a retired elementary teacher and Manchester alumna, reside in North Manchester. They have two adult children, Rachel and Sam, both Manchester graduates. To learn more about Manchester University, visit

-- Jeri S. Kornegay is staff for media relations at Manchester University.

Source: 10/19/2013 Newsline

Ventures in Christian Discipleship training events offered through McPherson College.

McPherson (Kan.) College is offering a series of courses and webinars for the purpose of training and supporting small congregations, under the title “Ventures in Christian Discipleship.” Campus minister Steve Crain and Ken and Elsie Holderread from Western Plains District are co-coordinators for the series.

Leaders for the events are Joshua Brockway, director of Spiritual Life and Discipleship for the Church of the Brethren; Barbara Daté, an educator and trainer working in Eugene, Ore., for the Center for Dialogue and Resolution; Donna Kline, director of the Church of the Brethren’s Deacon Ministry; and Deb Oskin, a clergy tax expert who is also an ordained minister in the Church of the Brethren;

Following is a list of the events, some offered as online webinars and others as classroom workshops:
  • “Making Sense of Church Finances,” a webinar led by Deb Oskin on Nov. 9 from 9 a.m.-noon (central time). Cost is $15.
  • “Clergy and Non-clergy Employees in the Small Congregation,” a webinar led by Deb Oskin on Nov. 9 from 1:30-4:30 p.m. (central time). Cost is $15.
  • “Building Healthy Relationships: Tools for Harmony Within Diversity,” a workshop led by Barbara Daté at McPherson College on Jan. 25, 2014, from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Cost is $50.
  • “Deep Compassionate Listening,” a workshop led by Barbara Daté at McPherson College on Jan. 26, 2014, from 1:30-4:30 p.m. Cost is $25.
  • “Spiritual Direction and a Life of Prayer,” a webinar led by Josh Brockway on March 8, 2014, from 9-11 a.m. (central time). Cost is $15.
  • “Are You a Person of Prayer?” a webinar led by Josh Brockway on March 8, 2014, from 1-3 p.m. (central time). Cost is $15. 
  • “Deaconing in Small Congregations,” a webinar led by Donna Kline on April 12, 2014, from 9-11 a.m. (central time). Cost is $15.
  • “The Gift of Grief,” a webinar led by Donna Kline on April 12, 2014, from 1-3 p.m. (central time). Cost is $15.
A Ventures in Christian Discipleship web page gives a complete description of the project and events, and how to register. Go to Brochures and more information is available by contacting Steve Crain at

Source: 10/19/2013 Newsline

Brethren bits.

  • Remembrance: Family physician and former missionary James E. Kipp of Newport, Pennsylvania, passed away on Oct. 7, after a 14-month battle with pancreatic cancer. A family physician with Norlanco Medical Associates in Elizabethtown, Pa., since 1975, Kipp took sabbatical leave for 14 months in 1980 and 1981 to volunteer as medical director for the Rural Health Program of the Church of the Brethren Mission in Nigeria. In the mid-1980s, he served as president of the Church of the Brethren Health and Welfare Association. A memorial will be held to celebrate his life on Sunday, Oct. 20, at the Family Life Center in Newport, Pa. Visitation will be held from 1 p.m. until the service starts at 3 p.m. Memorial donations are received to Hospice of Central Pennsylvania in Harrisburg, Sun Home Health and Hospice in Northumberland, and the American Cancer Society office in Harrisburg, Pa. The full obituary can be found at
  • The Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership seeks a half-time coordinator for the Training in Ministry (TRIM) and Education for Shared Ministry (EFSM) programs. Primary functions of the position are to administer two of the four educational tracks required for set-apart ministry in the Church of the Brethren; work with TRIM students and district coordinators, EFSM students, and supervising pastors; coordinate onsite and online learning options. Candidates should possess the following qualifications and abilities: five years of effective leadership in pastoral ministry; ordination and active membership in the Church of the Brethren; a master of divinity degree; a record of regular continuing education experiences; residence in Richmond, Ind., or the surrounding area preferred. Applications and a more complete job description are available from the executive assistant to the president of Bethany Theological Seminary and will be accepted until the position is filled. Send resumes to: Shaye Isaacs, Executive Assistant to the President, Bethany Theological Seminary, 615 National Road West; Richmond, IN 47374; or by e-mail to The Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership is a ministry training partnership of Bethany Theological Seminary and the Church of the Brethren.
  • The Anabaptist Disabilities Network (ADNet) newsletter featured the Church of the Brethren’s Open Roof Award in its October “Connections” newsletter. Written by Donna Kline, director of the denomination’s Deacon Ministry, the article explains how the Church of the Brethren offers the award annually to congregations that have made efforts to ensure that all may worship, serve, be served, learn, and grow as valued members, and reviews the four churches in Pennsylvania and Indiana that received the award in 2013. Find the October “Connections” newsletter and a link to the article about the Open Roof Award at
  • On Nov. 3, Sheldon (Iowa) Church of the Brethren celebrates its 125th anniversary. The congregation was begun on Nov. 3, 1888, with three families in attendance, said an announcement of the celebration. A Sunday morning worship celebration starts at 9:30 a.m., with cake, coffee, and punch served after the service. For those unable to attend in person, the church welcomes any special memories of time spent at the church. RSVP or send special memories by Oct. 27 to Sheldon Church of the Brethren, c/o Linda Adams, 712 6th St., Sheldon, IA 51201.
  • Registration is due by Nov. 15 for the Shenandoah District Pastors for Peace conversation on "Why a Peace Church?" The seminar will be held Nov. 23 from 9 a.m.-3:15 p.m. at Bridgewater (Va.) College. Jeff Bach, Church of the Brethren historian and director of the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College, will lead the conversation. The cost is $25 for ministers earning continuing education units, $20 for other interested adults, $10 for students. For more information go to
  • “Lybrook Community Ministries is active again!” announced a recent newsletter from Western Plains District. Jim and Kim Therrien of Independence Church of the Brethren in Kansas recently moved to New Mexico to serve the Lybrook community. Jim Therrien has begun work as director of Lybrook Community Ministries and pastor of Tók’ahookaadí Church of the Brethren. Kim Therrien is teaching at the school. The district requests, “Please keep Jim, Kim, and the entire Lybrook community in prayer.” Jim Therrien reported in the newsletter that “we have resumed Sunday morning worship services and have had some attendance. They had not had a service in over a year, so it will take a little time to get the word out. We have been posting flyers and contacted both the Nageezi and Counselor chapter houses. Kim has started the Monday evening craft and fellowship night and has had between four and seven ladies attending. We are started our Wednesday evening Bible study on September 25 and look forward to studying God’s word together. Kim has started the planning phase of opening a thrift store on the mission grounds utilizing the lower level of the bunkhouse.” The grand opening for the new effort at Lybrook is planned for Nov. 5. Contact the Therriens at or Lybrook Community Ministries, HCR 17, Box 110, Cuba, NM 87013.
  • Western Plains District is holding a “Meet ’n Greet” for president Jeff Carter of Bethany Theological Seminary on Nov. 1 from noon to 2 p.m. at the Cedars Conference Center in McPherson, Kan. The reception with the new Bethany president is held in advance of the district’s popular annual Gathering in Salina, Kan., where Carter will be on the program, said a note from the district office.
  • Western Pennsylvania District Conference will be held Oct. 19 at Camp Harmony, Hooversville, Pa. An offering of Church World Service Hygiene, School, Baby Kits, and Emergency Clean-up Buckets will be taken during the conference.
  • On Nov. 2, Western Pennsylvania’s 8th Annual District Auction is held at Camp Harmony near Hooversville, Pa. The event is a benefit for district ministries. The auction begins at 9 a.m. Breakfast is served from 7:30-8:45 a.m. The day also includes a lunch, the sale of fresh baked pies, and more. Contact the district office at 814-479-2181 or 814-479-7058.
  • Part 2 of the current Spiritual Disciplines Folder from the Springs of Living Water initiative for church renewal is now available. “Called to Serve: Entrusted to Be Servant Leaders” is posted at . The folder includes a description of the theme and focused scriptures connecting the service of footwashing, tub, and towel with mission. A release notes that it is designed for use with the entire congregation to deepen understanding of the central call to serve Christ, and through that to be called into the role of a servant leader. Study questions are written by Vince Cable, pastor of Uniontown Church of the Brethren near Pittsburgh, Pa., and are suitable for individual use or for small group study. The folder is used in the advanced class of the Springs of Living Water Academy as pastors explore the meaning of servant leadership.
  • In more news from the Spring of Living Water initiative, enrollment is open for the next class of the Springs of Living Water Academy. Intended for pastors, the class takes place via telephone conference calls. Participants work on the spiritual disciplines together, and members of their congregations walk alongside pastors who take the course. Pastors receive “shepherding” calls between each of 5 sessions spread over a 12-week period. The opening day for the next Springs of Living Water Academy course is Feb. 4. Continuing education units are available. For more information see or e-mail David Young at
  • The John Kline Homestead in Broadway, Va., is hosting special dinners in November and December, according to an announcement. “Enjoy a home-style candlelight dinner in pre-Civil War house, 223 East Springbrook Road, Broadway, Nov. 15 and 16 and Dec. 20 and 21, 6 p.m.” said an invitation. “Learn about Virginia calvary raids, high inflation and fleeing war refugees which strained community life in the fall of 1863. Hear the struggles of the family in the John Kline home around a traditional meal.” Seats are $40 per plate; seating limited to 32. Call 540-896-5001 for reservations. Groups are welcome. Proceeds support the John Kline Homestead, the family home of Civil War-era Brethren elder and martyr for peace John Kline.
  • For the last 10 years, the National Council of Churches Eco-Justice  Program has developed an ecumenical Earth Day Sunday Resource. In the program’s new capacity as Creation Justice Ministries, “we will continue this tradition and look forward to sharing the 2014 Earth Day Sunday Resource with you,” said an announcement. “While our resource is not complete, we are excited to reveal next year's theme: Water, Holy Water.” The Earth Day Sunday Resource will be out at the beginning of 2014 and will include worship resources, activities, and educational information about the gift of water and its important role. For more information contact Creation Justice Ministries at
  • The University of La Verne, Calif., is holding centennial celebrations for the composer Benjamin Britten. An article in the “Inland Valley Daily Bulletin” notes that ULV’s College of Arts and Sciences is using the to recognize Britten’s pacifist convictions and at the same time recognize the university’s roots in the pacifist Church of the Brethren. The centennial of Britten’s birth is Nov. 22. Provost Greg Dewey told the newspaper: “Since the University of La Verne was founded by and is historically affiliated with the Church of the Brethren, a pacifist denomination, the Britten events provide our community an opportunity to reflect on our origins and the contemporary revelancy and means of promoting peace in an often violent world. We look forward to the vigorous intellectual discussions that will arise because of these events.” Four Britten events at ULV start Oct. 17 with a panel discussion about conscientious objectors and the historic values of the university, held in the University Chapel at 4-5 p.m. with a reception following.  On. Oct. 22 a lecture by curator Susanne Slavick titled “Out of Rubble” starts at 4:40 p.m., program coordinated by Dion Johnson, director of university art galleries, with a reception following. On Oct. 27 the concert “Peace in the Heart of War” will feature Los Angeles Opera tenor Jonathan Mack, ULV Music Department associate and soprano Carol Stephenson, and pianist Grace Xia Zhao, ULV’s artist-in-residence; a donation of $20 is suggested for the 6 p.m. concert in Morgan Auditorium.A talk titled “Hot Spots: The Exile of Benjamin Britten” will be given by history professor Ken Marcus at 11 a.m. Oct. 24 in the President’s Dining Hall.
  • Five former Bridgewater (Va.) College athletes have been selected for induction into the college’s Athletic Hall of Fame on Nov. 8, a release said. Inductees are: Glen Goad of Bristol, Va., former linebacker and one of the top football players at Bridgewater during the 1970s, who served as team captain and in 1973 was named the Eagles’ MVP; Andrew Agee of Roanoke, Va., who completed his four-year basketball playing career at Bridgewater as one of the top players in the program’s history ranking 13 on the Bridgewater all-time scoring list, and during his senior season was team captain; Shirley Brown Chenault of Broadway, Va., who played basketball and volleyball while at Bridgewater and was one of the top volleyball players in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference, and at the time of her graduation ranked No. 1 on the Eagles’ all-time assists list; Todd Rush of Chevy Chase, Md., who finished his basketball career at Bridgewater as one of the top players in program history finishing his playing career with 1,784 points to rank No. 4 on the program’s all-time scoring list, and was a three-year team co-captain; and Melissa Baker Nice of Waynesboro, Va., who finished her career as one of the top performers in the women’s track and field program, qualifying for the NCAA championship five times and earning All-America honors twice during the 2001 season, who won a total of 23 Old Dominion Athletic Conference titles during her career--16 individual and 7 relay. Nice holds school records in the indoor 400, outdoor 400, outdoor 400 hurdles, and as a member of the outdoor 4x400 relay team, and she still holds the ODAC record in the 400 hurdles with a time of 1:01.94. For the full release go to
  • “We don’t often get the chance to visit one of our partner projects, but last month, we did. And what a joy it was,” reports Tina Rieman of the Global Women’s Project Steering Committee in a release. The group held its fall meeting in North Manchester, Ind., and had an opportunity to connect with partner project Growing Grounds in Wabash, Ind. “I was particularly moved by the stories that the former inmates, Veronica, April, and Jennifer, shared with us,” Rieman wrote in her report. “They took life skills classes taught by Growing Grounds, and they received loans, rides, and abundant emotional support, both before and after their release from jail. I am keenly aware of how amazing each of these women is...for turning their lives around and accepting the helping hand that was offered to them.” Find her full report at
Source: 10/19/2013 Newsline


Newsline is produced by the news services of the Church of the Brethren. Contact the editor at Contributors to this issue of Newsline include Kendra Flory, Mary Kay Heatwole, Ken and Elsie Holderread, Philip E. Jenks, Nancy Miner, Paul Roth, and editor Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services for the Church of the Brethren.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Newsline: October 11, 2013


Registration fees for Annual Conference 2014 include new family friendly discount.

“Given this is budget preparation time for many congregations, we’ve had calls and e-mails asking about the registration fees for Annual Conference next year,” said a note from the Conference Office, which highlights a new “family friendly” change made by the Program and Arrangements Committee.

In brief, delegate and non-delegate fees will remain the same for the third consecutive year, but new this year is no registration fee for children and youth, high-school age and younger, to attend Annual Conference. Previously, free registration only applied to participants age 12 and younger. Separate fees for age group activities will still apply.

Early delegate registration at the rate of $285 begins Jan. 2, 2014, and continues through Feb. 25, after which the delegate registration fee goes up to $310.

Early registration for non-delegates begins Feb. 26. Cost is $105 for adults who register for the full Conference, with a daily fee of $35 available, and discounts for young adults post high school through age 21 and active Brethren Volunteer Service workers. After June 3, non-delegate registration is only available onsite for an increased fee.

Full details and the complete fee schedule is online at The 2014 Annual Conference takes place in Columbus, Ohio, from July 2-6.

Source: 10/11/2013 Newsline

Enroll in dental, vision, and other insurance products in November through BBT.

By Brian Solem

Employees of Church of the Brethren-affiliated organizations who work 20 hours or more may enroll in certain insurance plans through Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT). Open enrollment for Dental, Vision, Supplemental Life (for current Basic Life members who are eligible to add up to $10,000 of additional coverage), and Short-Term Disability insurance through Brethren Insurance Services happens Nov. 1-30.

Download this year’s open enrollment kit at after Oct. 28. Open enrollment kits will only be available electronically.

Contact by e-mail to register for Brethren Insurance Services’ open enrollment alerts, which will be sent once or twice per month through November.

Basic life and long-term disability insurance will not be offered as part of this year’s open enrollment, but employees of Church of the Brethren-affiliated organizations may enroll in one or both of these products. Contact Brethren Insurance Services for more information.

For questions about open enrollment or Brethren Insurance Services, contact Connie Sandman, member services representative, at 800-746-1505 ext. 366.

--Brian Solem is manager of publications for Brethren Benefit Trust.

Source: 10/11/2013 Newsline

‘Pioneering’ is the subject of a three-webinar series.

Congregational Life Ministries is offering three new webinars on the topic of church pioneering. The webcast presenters are leaders from the Anabaptist Network in the United Kingdom, an organization that models dynamic ministry strategies and creative processes for new church development. The three webinars are hosted by the Church of the Brethren and organized together with Urban Expression, Bristol Baptist, and BMS World Mission.

The webinars are free. Ministers who attend the live events may earn 0.15 continuing education units for each webinar. Participants can register to attend the live events or to receive a link to a recording of the webcasts.

 “Pioneers--Embracing the Unknown” is the title of a webinar on Oct. 24 led by Juliet Kilpin. “It takes a skillful initiator to replicate a model of church or mission from one context into another,” said a description of the event, “but it takes a creative, courageous, risk-taking pioneer to imagine something that has not yet been and form it into being. In the rapidly changing context of western societies, how can we identify, equip and deploy pioneers who will not just replicate, but will prophetically lead us into the unknown, exploring fresh ways of being missional communities? And why is it important that we do this?”

“Joining Jesus Outside the Camp: Pioneering God--Pioneering People of God” is the title of a webinar on Nov. 14 with Steve Finamore. “The biblical narrative centers on people and places who were found at the margins,” said the description. “It tells the story of God’s adventure in those margins. It summons God’s people to join Messiah Jesus outside the camp. The Bible promotes an understanding of God as one who forsakes the center in order to catalyze life in unexpected places and in new patterns; patterns which are both valuable in their own right and which also point beyond themselves to the fullness of God’s impending reign.”

“Pioneering in a Global Context” is the topic of a webinar on Dec. 11 led by David Kerrigan. “Throughout the centuries pioneers have taken the gospel of Jesus Christ into new places and different cultures,” said a description. “Some of these are well known and their stories have been forgotten. What can we learn from these pioneers and from those who are pioneering in different global contexts today?”

Webinars will take place at 2-4 p.m. (Eastern time) for participants in the United States, or 7:30-9 p.m. for participations in the UK. Register for the webinars at . Donations are accepted to help support the webinars.

For more information contact Stan Dueck, the Church of the Brethren’s director of Transforming Practices, at or 800-323-8039 ext. 343.

Source: 10/11/2013 Newsline